Aurimas Liutikas - software engineer by day and headshot/portrait photographer on weekends.
As far as I can remember I was a tinkerer with gadgets. I started taking electronics in our house apart immediately after I figured out how to use my dad’s screwdriver. As you can imagine my parents were not exactly thrilled with finding their beloved devices dissected, but I was simply too curious to see what lays inside of all the black and gray plastic boxes. This early drive has set me on track for the two passions that I hold today - software engineering and photography.
When I first saw a computer I realized that this was the ultimate black box. It was running on magic as I could understand it. My family did not own a computer until 1999, but that did not stop me from trying to learn more about them before we had one in our house. The first attempt to create something on a computer took place in my school’s library where they had a singular computer that happened to have Visual Basic. At the time I was clever enough to open Visual Basic, but example programs went way over my head. All I could do was to modify a few lines to cause a change to colors on the screen. It all seemed way too complicated. Despite that I was still determined to learn more and so I managed to convince our technology teacher at school to let me join the student programming club with students a few grades above me so I can start learning Turbo Pascal. That is where I finally started to understand some of the basic computer science concepts. Recursion alone blew my mind away! Once my family got a computer at home and later an internet connection, I learned the essentials of PHP and was out and about writing fun little web pages. By the end of high school I had tinkered with Pascal, Delphi, PHP along with HTML + JS. This “hobby” still continues on even today. Luckily, I get paid for doing it now!
Photography has a similar story to programming with a slightly later start. In 2004 after my first summer working as a construction worker I was able to save up enough to buy a camera. It was a lower end digital 3.1 megapixel camera called 950 PowerC@m Zoom. This camera was with me at all times and so I took hundreds of pictures of my friends, community events nearby, and the nature around my home town. When I look back at these photos they do seem mediocre but this camera was the thing that allowed me to get excited about photography. In the fall of 2006 I moved to Norway (which by the way is one of the most picturesque countries in the world). My camera was not quite cutting it there anymore as I was not able to document the sunsets, the night sky, or animated student performances in our poorly lit performance center. Desire to do more pushed me to save up and buy my second camera - FinePix S5600. This camera was a big leap in terms of quality. I started waking up early or going to bed late just to try and capture the nature around me. I was also lucky enough to make friends Ali who was the teacher running the student “tech” group on campus responsible for recording events on campus. Through this club I got my first taste of DSLR cameras and I was hooked. Sadly, that kind of toy required some serious investment. It took me all the way until freshman year college until I was able to buy my first DSLR - Canon 450D. Around the same time I met another student Enche who deeply into photography. He introduced me to folks at Bucknell’s Alumni magazine and that was what I normally think as the beginning of my photography career. I started shooting events, portraits, group pictures, candid campus shots with a frequency of around one event per week up until graduating from Bucknell. I gained a lot of skills “on the job” and discovered that I love photographing people. Portraits are still my favorite type of shot that I to today.